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September 14, 2018

It's been a long time since the Eagles played a real road game

The Eagles haven't played a true away game, as a visitor in another team's home stadium, in a really long time.

In fact, despite having played six games since Week 15 of last year — three playoff and three regular season ones — Philly hasn't been the road team since December 17 last year in New York.

"They tried to consider us an away team for the Super Bowl, but it wasn't the same," Corey Clement said. 

The running back, like many, recalls Eagles' fans outnumbering Patriots fans by a vast margin in February's championship win held in neutral Minnesota.

When the Eagles hit the field in Tampa on Sunday afternoon, they will be in enemy territory. Or at least as much so as the well-traveled Philly fans allow them to be.

"We do feel the fact that there are Eagles fans in the stadium and in the city and around our hotel," Doug Pederson said. "And it’s great to see. It's great to see that sea of green in the stadium; how they can be loud and kind of disruptive for the home team is great. 

"I think our fans travel extremely well. We've got them all over the country, all over the world, and would expect a pretty good crowd in Tampa this weekend."

And even if the Eagles faithful don't overrun Tampa, a road test has still been a long time coming for the Birds.

"It's good," Jay Ajayi said. "I think it will be good for us to get a good away game early in the season against a good team. It will be good to get that road warrior mentality as well to try and execute and have that mindset away from our stadium when it's loud." 

The Eagles haven't played the Bucs in Tampa since 2013, Chip Kelly's first season. In that contest, a much different Philly squad, save for the starting quarterback, won 31-20 in dominating fashion. 

"Tampa's crowd, we will see how they try and effect us," Clement continued. "At the same time we prepare for it at practice with loud music and crowd noise, we will be able to handle it.

Last year, the Eagles went 6-2 away from the Linc, with the only two losses coming early in the year in Kansas City and later in Seattle. 

"It's the same as last year, when we go on the road we have business to handle," Clement said. "I don't think [playing on] the road really has an effect on this team."

The Eagles have a mix of easy away games (like at Tampa Bay, at Tennessee) and tough ones (at New Orleans, at Los Angeles) in addition to their usual road dates with Washington, New York and Dallas. Week 2's tilt in Florida will be a good reminder of what it's like to play on the road — one the team will draw on when things get tougher as the season drags on.

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